Post by kerouac2 on Jan 25, 2019 14:38:03 GMT
So, what do you use to eat? I was reading an interesting article about how people eat around the world.
The vast majority of people (3.5 billion) eat with their hands. This includes one's bare hands or the use of a piece of bread or tortilla or potato to push things around and pick them up, such as mezze style dishes. We have all seen scenes of how Africans roll their rice or other grain into a little ball to dip into their stew. The next step up is to use a spoon and depending on the dish, a lot of bare hand eaters also use spoons from time to time. The spoon reached England in the 12th century. And actually spoons are used around the world more for cooking and serving than eating. Of course the main deal in Europe is forks, which the Chinese starting using in the 2nd century. Apparently, in much of China these days forks are reserved for small children before they have learned to use chopsticks. Forks entered Europe through Italy, and then they caught on in the royal court of France in the 1500's. The Iberians were next and they converted all of the Americas.
2.1 billion people eat with chopsticks and only in the Chinese zone of influence (Japan, Korea, Indochina...). The China Daily says that Confucius promoted them because forks and knives were considered barbarian and even dangerous. It is quite true that in most of the world, knives never leave the kitchen. You would never put any on a dining table.
The article points out oddities like the very same dish of couscous is eaten with a fork in France, a spoon in Tunisia, spoon and fork in Algeria and with the fingers in Morocco. I was invited into a Moroccan colleague's home once and his wife put her foot down -- "He's going to eat like us!" (gotta love her) and so I did indeed eat my couscous with my fingers. Rather messy for non specialists.
In the last century and a half, it has been mostly the hotel industry that brought the full set of silverware to the world. Obviously, it caught on in a lot of places and is the height of chic in places like Qatar. Silverware is obviously quite generalised in the majority of urban areas of the world. I'm sure that watching television draws a lot of people to the concept now.
I myself use spoons much more than I used to, having learned how practical they are when I started going to Asia. I have noticed that I tend to eat leftovers with a spoon quite often when it is a dish that doesn't need to be cut up or anything. My friends from Singapore were in total awe, though, when they saw Europeans eating things like peas with a fork. It makes absolutely no sense.
It was interesting as I observed my mother's decline that when I would take her to a Chinese restaurant, she still absolutely wanted to use chopsticks as she always had done in such places. About halfway through the meal, though, she would get frustrated and use the other silverware because she was hungry. Finally, she stopped trying.
What have you encountered and/or adopted?